Along the Great Wall Of India at Kumbhalgarh Fort

posted in: Asia, Heritage, India, Rajasthan | 41

Whenever I research a destination, there are always some places that I earmark as “uncompromisable” “must-visit” “Cannot avoid” kind of destinations. I tend to work my trip plan around these destinations so that there is enough time to visit here, for my trip would not be a success without having seen them properly. Kumbhalgarh for me, was this one uncompromisable destination during my trip to Rajasthan and I am so glad that it

Kumbhalgarh Fort


My fascination for Kumbhalgarh fort started with my research about this place. Firstly, this was a  piece of history – a fort, second – an almost undefeated one and third – it was the birth place of the famed Maharana Pratap Singh. There is’nt too much online about the fort and the unexplored part of it, added the mystique to this place, making it even more thrilling for me. At the end of it, I knew that my trip to Rajasthan would be incomplete if I missed out on this fort.

The fort enchanted me in myriad of ways and I am afraid, I will not be able to cover it all in one post. So, consider this as the first of my two part series of Kumbhalgarh fort. In this post, will share the various facets of the exteriors of the fort while I will leave the palace and its interiors for another post. So, let’s get started.

Enroute to Udaipur is when we planned a stop-over at this fort. The drive through the green hills was an absolute pleasure and it is best explained with this picture of the lovely green valley, one of the many green covers that you pass through when heading to Kumbhalgarh.
Green valley along the roads to Kumbhalgarh
Green valley along the roads to Kumbhalgarh
It is hard to believe that you are in a desert when you pass through these hills, for they are naturally green and the cool breeze that blows along makes you realise what an apt location the Kumbha kings had chosen for their fort. A bit of history before we move ahead – it is said that this fort was undefeated and considered as a safe haven by the Sisodia kings, who ruled the cities of Chittor and Udaipur. The founder of Udaipur – Rana Udai Singh was hidden here as a baby when the Chittor was under seige. And of course, like I mentioned earlier, the famed Maharana Pratap Singh was born here.
History has it that this fort fell only once when the drinking water was poisoned and with the combined efforts of the Mughal emperor Akbar and a few other Rajput kings. Hmm! Well, would not consider it a fair victory over this fort, but well, they say that All is Fair in Love and War 😉
The fort has seven gates and while we drove along to the main gate, I tried spotting them all along the way. I was a little disappointed that I could not spot all of them but the sight of the massive Ram Pol or the main gate along with the fortified walls took away this disappointment.
Ram Pol
Ram Pol

Trivia time – they say that Rana Kumbha was not able to get the fortified walls constructed properly and one of those days ended up meeting a spiritual person. The spiritual guide asked him to get a human sacrifice done. For quite sometime, Rana Kumbha did not find anyone and finally, one person (some say that it was the same spiritual guide, some say it was a soldier) volunteered for the task. A temple was constructed at the very place where the soldier’s head fell and today, this stands close to one of the gates called Hanuman Pol. Little barbaric, don’t you think so?

Fortified Walls of Kumbhalgarh Fort
Fortified Walls of Kumbhalgarh Fort

Today, the fortified walls are the main feature of this fort. Spanning a total of 36 kms over 13 hill peaks, the walls of Kumbhalgarh fort have been recorded as the second longest wall in the world, after the Great Wall of China. The walls enclose a complete citadel with over 360 temples within it.

One of the temples at Kumbhalgarh Fort
One of the temples at Kumbhalgarh Fort


Amongst the various temples here, the Shiva temple is well known for its huge Shiva Linga. You can even visit this, either before you start towards the main palace or when you are back down to the main gate.
From every corner of the fort, you can see the endless expanse of the outer walls. I would have loved to trek along these outer walls – at least for a few kilometers but the travel bug in me was itching to explore the other aspects of this fort.

Badal Mahal as seen from the entrance of Kumbhalgarh Fort
Badal Mahal as seen from the entrance of Kumbhalgarh Fort
As I stood at the base of the fort and looked up, I saw the main palace of the fort – the Badal Mahal. The name Badal Mahal literally means “Abode of Clouds” and given the location of the palace it seemed like a befitting name. The climb to the palace is through winding paths and is not all that steep. It is in fact, a beautiful climb with tons of greenery and flowers keeping you company as you ascend.
Climb up the Kumbhalgarh Fort
Climb up the Kumbhalgarh Fort

It is easy to imagine how people would have walked along the entrances and gates or climbed up on elephant or horsebacks to get upto the main palace. The best part of this fort is that there is no restriction and you are free to wander away from the main path to explore anything that catches your fancy. I walked along the walls to discover little watch towers, gun and cannon holes and small oil holes.

Exploring the little watch towers , Kumbhalgarh Fort
Exploring the little watch towers , Kumbhalgarh Fort

Interestingly, the walls of the fort are quite unusual and very scenic. They are brownish with a bit of red color on it. They sort of reminded me of the castles that I saw in Europe. With the greenery and the lovely clouds as the backdrop, they are bound to bring out the shutterbug in you.

Along the walls of Kumbhalgarh fort
Along the walls of Kumbhalgarh fort


Unlike the other forts in Rajasthan, Kumbhalgarh Fort is devoid of guides – both real and audio. There are very few sign posts and the whole fort is kind of DYI. I frankly, loved that about the fort for it gave the explorer in me a bit of satisfaction. I felt as if I were discovering a lot by myself. I felt as if I was living a story. 🙂

Along the path to the Badal Mahal, you can visit a small cannon museum. Opposite the same is a huge water tank, that you need to climb up and peep into. Just remember not to step into it as it is quite steep and well, if you fall in, there is no one and no way to rescue you 😉

You can even explore the little tunnels near the walls of the fort. They must have been made for the sentries to walk along in the night.  As you walk on further, you see this beautiful set of arches, possibly a part of the royal gardens back then.

Arches within the Kumbhalgarh Fort
Arches within the Kumbhalgarh Fort


Every now and then, I kept pausing to see the landscape that unfolded itself within the fort itself. I felt a little frenzied as well, wanting to see every corner of it but knowing that time would not permit it this time. The little paths that forked out at every junction seemed to hold a secret for me to unravel. Reluctantly, I had to leave out a lot of these forks to continue my trek up to the Badal Mahal.

Badal Mahal is a different story itself and one that needs a complete post dedicated to it.  So, stay tuned for Part Two of Kumbhalgarh Fort, which I promise will be the next post from me. 🙂 For now, I leave you with this lovely picture of one of the watch-towers that I caught from the Badal Mahal.


Getting to Kumbhalgarh Fort:

  • Udaipur is the nearest airport to Kumbhalgarh. It is around 100 kms from Kumbhalgarh
  • There are plenty of tourist buses and state buses that one can take from Udaipur and Jodhpur.
  • You can opt for a private cab from any of the cities in Rajasthan to Kumbhalgarh. Udaipur would be the closest city amongst all.

Travel Tips:

  • The entrance fees for Indians is INR 10, while for foreign tourists, it is INR 100. There are no camera charges. The fort also, offers a Light and Sound show every evening.
  • The Fort is open on all days of the week
  • There are a few restaurants near the fort, specifically once you enter the fort. They serve full fledged meals as well as snacks. A small curios shop is attached to the restaurant. I found the shop reasonably priced, though there wasn’t too much of variety here.
  • Comfortable cotton clothing and flat shoes are recommended as there is plenty to walk around. The path is not really recommended for the handicap and for families with babies in a pram.
  • It tends to get a little chilled in the evening. A light woolen shawl or a light jacket would be handy.
  • There are no sign-posts or guides available at the fort. The entire journey here is a Do-It-Yourself and frankly, I think the thrill of exploring the fort lies in this itself.
  • There are a lot of resorts and hotels around Kumbhalgarh and you can opt to stay here as well. The Kumbhalgarh Sanctuary could be an added attraction .
Click here for Part two of Kumbhalgarh Fort.
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41 Responses

  1. has it got the UNESCO world heritage site tag yet?
    I remember some discussion on this some time back. High time this monument is honored!
    Thanks for taking me down the memory lane. I visited in 2008 and the places look almost same.

  2. Oh yes, it has now got the UNESCO heritage tag. I think it is totally deserving.

  3. The second largest wall and I didn't even know about it! I have not been there yet. Loved your pictures and your take on the lack of signboards.

  4. Stunning pics..thanks for taking us along

  5. simply awesome Ami… reminded me of Mehrangarh in Jodhpur… 🙂
    very stunning pictures… 🙂

  6. Amazing history of fort. Happy to know its 2nd longest wall. Thanks for showing us such a beautiful place which was lesser known.

  7. Great write up with very nice pictures of Kumbhalgarh Fort !!

  8. 🙂 I am sure you will love the lack of the boards . Self Discovery is always a pleasure.

  9. Your welcome Ani…am glad you liked it.

  10. Thanks Harshita

  11. Glad you liked it Arun…stay tuned for the rest of the journey

  12. Thanks a ton Yogi. Glad you liked it.

  13. Thanks Archana. Meherangarh Fort is a beautiful one too. I loved visiting that one too. Kumbhalgarh is a simpler than the Meherangarh fort and a lot of strategic in its structure. Found that part very interesting.

  14. Lovely pics and a beautiful post!

  15. "whole fort is kind of DYI" – makes it a lot more tempting! Awesome article!

    – Amul Garg (

  16. Thanks Anupam. Glad you liked it.

  17. Totally Amul. I guess I enjoyed it more because of the DYI

  18. I'm trying to find the link to the next part. This is such a cool place and I want to read more. Sidenote: camera charges? I haven't heard of such a thing except for exploratory permits in government lands.

  19. Awesome post and lovely pics! Thanks for taking us through.

  20. So excited to see this place!! Looking forward to part 2.

  21. What lovely pictures. I love the colors in the wall of the first one.

  22. The Great Wall of India – I did an article on this in Smart Photography! Thanks for sharing! *Nostalgia*

  23. Thanks Rob and Chris. There are a few sites in India such as this one, some of the Hampi sites, temples at Halebid and Belur where photography is not charged for. Frankly, I wish they would so that the proceeds can go to a better upkeep of the place 😀

  24. Glad you liked it 😀

  25. Thanks 😀 Part Two already up. Give it a good read.

  26. The wall colors were so unusual. I loved them too

  27. Nice one. Am sure the article did really good.

  28. […] hope you have been enjoying part one of my visit to Kumbhalgarh Fort and as promised, here is part two of my Kumbhalgarh trail – […]

  29. This is just such a cool place, and now I’ve read both parts and it sounds like just the best site to visit. I do think the camera fees are so odd.

  30. Very interesting place. Another we have added to our list from your recommendation.

  31. I would have so much fun with my camera there! Such a beautiful place! Thanks for sharing!

  32. elizabeth

    I like that it is not commercialized and a bit do it yourself, I imagine that will come in time. It is a fascinating place- the width of those walls! It looks very well preserved, I have never even heard of it.

    • It is one of those offbeat places near Udaipur. That is why it is not so popular. But beautiful nonetheless.

  33. Allison Fun Family Vacations

    This looks like a great experience for the kids. I love DIY exploring! Thanks for sharing.

Would love to know what you think